Sunday, July 10, 2011

2011 Summer Challenges Commence! Tapping into a Season of Creative Experiences

Summer has arrived. Through the open windows come the sounds of lawn mowers. In the evening, the soft murmur of voices punctuated by laughter as neighbors sit on their porches and talk late into the night. The light lingers, and only by nine o’clock can the first stars be distinguished in the sky. The heat comes, tanning skin, dampening brows, and making the fans work hard through the still afternoons.

This is my favorite time of year. There is something special in the long days, the slow heat, and the sense of extended time that lends itself to creative exploration, awareness of the moment, and playfulness. As I wrote last summer, summertime seems a season where the veil between the past and the present becomes translucent. Memories rise to the surface like ice cubes in a glass of lemonade, clinking together, gently reminding you of things long forgotten or of the origins of traditions still carried out. This point of memory is a wellspring of ideas that can foster new creative endeavors or add kindling to on-going ones. Summer also gives us a feeling of there being time to relax, and creativity always blossoms when you have time to daydream.

Summer Challenges began last summer, inspired by a vague memory that turned into a weekend project to reacquaint myself with a pack of Big League Chew, a gum I hadn't had since I was about ten. From this simple adventure developed some great moments of inspiration and re-connection to many other memories (and some old friends). In the eight weeks of the Dog Days of Summer last year, we explored Candy, Books, Ice Cream, Sunrise, Sunset & High Noon, Spontaneous Play, Wanderlust, Adventures, and Alfresco as touch points for remembering and creating.

I hope that you will join us for another eight weeks of Summer Challenges. We will be exploring a number of new topics, such as Camp and The Beach, as well as many more. These posts are inspiration points for exploration to jump start creative thinking (or even an Artist Date.) They can be interpreted in many ways, and “captured” creatively through any medium from writing and painting to photography to a brief sketch. Whether they inspire you to a completed piece, point you to a long lost memory, or are noted as an idea for later use, I hope that you will share some of your experiences and work in the comment section after each post.

Happy creating!

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